where to stay in Tokyo, with the 7 best areas to stay

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It’s can be quite a challenge to decide where to stay in Tokyo. Mostly because there are a lot of great areas and it’s such a big city. And when I say big, I mean BIG! Tokyo has over 20 district wards, so it can really be overwhelming to pick the best area in Tokyo for your accommodation. Of course, it’s really important that you stay somewhere convenient so that you can easily travel around in Tokyo. Or this might be your second visit to Tokyo and you’ve already seen the most popular touristic attractions, so you’re actually looking for a more unique place to stay. 

In this post I share where to stay in Tokyo and what the best areas are in this amazing Japanese city. Most of these areas are super conveniently located, so you can easily use the public transport to get around the city. You can also find some very interesting areas to stay in Tokyo, that include lots of fun, unique things to do.

Under each recommended area you can also find amazing hotels and things to do. I’m sure that after reading this article you’ll find the best place to stay in Tokyo and have a fantastic trip! 

 

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Where to stay in Tokyo: What are the best areas to stay in Tokyo?

 

In short, the best areas to stay in Tokyo are Shinjuku, Ginza and Shibuya. Other great areas to stay in Tokyo are Chiyoda (particularly Marunouchi), Roppongi, Nihombashi, Shinagawa, Hamamatsucho, Shiodome, Asakusa and Odaiba. Some of these areas in Tokyo are actually quite close to each other too. In this article you can find more information about the following areas in Tokyo: Shinjuku, Ginza, Shibuya, Asakusa, Hamamatsucho, Roppongi, Odaiba and Chiyoda, along with great hotel options and things to do in that area. But first I share a bit about the most convenient subway line to stay close to.

The most convenient subway line in Tokyo: the JR Yamatone Line

When you're at Lake Kawaguchiko, you can travel around by bus or train. We took the train to Shimoyoshida Station. From here you can walk to Arakura Sengen Shrine and there you'll find the Chureito Pagoda

The adorable train can be found at Mount Fuji, so it’s not part of the JR Yamatone Line. 

If you’re not staying in a central location in Tokyo, try to at least stay next to a subway line so you can easily travel around to the touristic attractions in the city. The best line to stay close to is the JR Yamatone Line, because it’s one of the most important and convenient lines of Tokyo. The line forms a circle around the center of Tokyo and includes all the important areas such as Ginza, Shibuya and Shinjuku. Plus, it also includes all the important stations of Tokyo. If you have a Japan Rail Pass you can use the JR Yamatone Line for free.

The other four Metropolitan JR Tokyo railway lines are:

  1. Chuo line: connects Tokyo station with Shinjuku station. It crosses the Yamanote line.
  2. Keihin-Tohoku line: runs parallel to the Yamanote line on the eastern side and stops at Ueno, Tokyo and Shinagawa stations.
  3. Sobu line: runs across from the Yamanote line and is similar to the Chuo line, but is slower.
  4. Saikyo line: runs parallel to the Yamanote line on the western side of the circle.

 

The 8 best areas to stay in Tokyo

 

1. Shinjuku: Entertainment, business and shopping area

Shinjuku in Tokyo is a great location to stay, due to the amazing atmosphere, shops, and the many great restaurants.

Shinjuku in Tokyo is a great location to stay, due to the amazing atmosphere, shops, and the many great restaurants. And it’s close to Tokyo’s biggest transport hubs and JR Yamanote Line, making it super convenient for day trips and travelling around Tokyo. Around Shinjuku station you can find entertainment, business and shopping areas. Furthermore, Shinjuku Station is actually one of the busiest railway stations in the world, as more than two million people use this station each day.

At Shinjuku you can find some of Tokyo’s tallest buildings and there are actually quite a few observatory decks that you can use for free! One of the districts at Shinjuku is Golden Gai, a nightlife district with over 200 small bars and cafés. There is a great vibe here and it’s a unique place to grab a couple of drinks.

Other cool areas in Shinjuku are Shinjuku Skyscraper District, Kabukicho, Omoide Yokocho and Shin-Okubo Koreatown.

Best hotels in Shinjuku

  • Hotel Sun route Plaza Shinjuku: located in a quiet street in West Shinjuku and is just walking distance from where it all happens. Check prices and availability here.
  • Hotel Gracery Shinjuku: located in the heart of Shinjuku Station’s East Exit. Check prices and availability here.
  • Tokyo Stay Shinjuku: just a few minutes walk from Shinjuku Station. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Shinjuku

  • Yotsuya Fire Museum: a museum with lots of interactive exhibitions and the main attraction is a helicopter on the roof, which you can sit in.
  • Taisoji Temple: in this temple you can find the Big Buddha statue and many stray cats.
  • Shinjuku Gyoen: a beautiful park with many different gardens, as well as a free greenhouse that includes exotic plants.
  • Hanazono Shrine: beautiful shrine with lots of festival throughout the year.
  • Omoide Yokocho: literal translation is “memory lane”, and this street full of restaurants resembles the 1950s old Shinjuku.
  • Kabukicho: red light district with lots of bars, shops and lights.
  • Golden Gai: area with lots of little bars. Only a few bars welcome foreign guests.

 

2. Ginza: Famous upmarket shopping, dining and entertainment district

Pedestrian Paradise in Ginza happens in the weekends: they close down the streets for cars, so it's perfect for shopping.

This district center of Ginza is one of the most expensive places to live in Japan. Ginza offers a lot of department stores, boutiques, restaurants, cafés and art galleries. Even though it’s a luxury shopping area, there are definitely affordable shopping possibilities too, such as the Uniqlo Store (the biggest Uniqlo store can be found here!). Plus, the restaurants vary from luxury to budget, so there is something for everyone.

Ginza is a convenient district for your stay in Tokyo, as it’s close to the JR Yamanote Line and JR Yarakucho Line, making it a central point to travel around in Tokyo.

The central Chuo Dori Street is completely closed to traffic during the weekends, which is why it has the nickname Pedestrian Paradise.

Some of the shopping departments in Ginza are Ginza Wako, Ginza Six, Tokyo Plaza Ginza and Mitsukoshi.

Best hotels in Ginza

  • Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier: a hotel with the best views of Ginza. Check prices and availability here.
  •  Hyatt Centric Ginza Tokyo: centrally located in the heart of Ginza. Check prices and availability here. 
  • Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Ginza: just a few minutes walk from Ginza Station. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Ginza

  • Ginza Yon-chome intersection: a very energetic place with a lot of shops, department stores, cafés and more.
  • Ginza Mitsukoshi: department store that has high-end accessories and clothing and mostly caters to rich, older women.
  • Kabuki-za: office building and a kabuki theater.
  • Japan National Tourism Organisation Information Center: information center that helps and support travellers on their trip with English information guides, sightseeing suggestions and free wi-fi.
  • Uniqlo: Ginza is famous for shopping, and you can find the world’s largest Uniqlo store right here.
  • Mikimoto Boutique: a landmark building known for its unique windows.

 

3. Shibuya: Popular shopping and entertainment area with the famous busy intersection

The Shibuya District from above and you can see the busy Shibuya intersection

Shibuya is also a great central location in Tokyo and attracts a younger crowd. It’s mostly known because of the large intersection in front of the Hachiko Exit of Shibuya Station. Not only is this intersection decorated by neon advertisements and big video screens, but it’s also claimed to be one of the busiest crossings in the world. Shibuya is also perfect for shopping, nightlife and entertainment, and is actually one of Tokyo’s most colourful districts. In Shibuya you can also find a lot of youth fashion and culture, and a lot of trends in Japan start here.

Shibuya is a convenient place to stay because of the transport connections and yes, it’s also close to the JR Yamanote Line.

Some of the most famous streets and districts in the Shibuya area are Center Gai, Koen Dori, Spain Slope and Love Hotel Hill.

Best hotels in Shibuya

  • Dormy Inn Premium Shibuya-Jingumae: affordable and centrally located accommodation. Check the prices and availability here.
  • Shibuya Excel Hotel Tokyo: from this hotel you actually have a view on the Shibuya Crossing (it’s where we took the photo from!), plus it’s reasonably priced. Check prices and availability here.
  • Hotel Unizo Tokyo Shibuya: perfect location within walking distance of Shibuya Station. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Shibuya

  • Shibuya Crossing: claimed to be one of the busiest intersections in the world.
  • Yoyogi Park: green park which is great for festivals, picknicks and sun lovers.
  • Hachiko statue: the famous dog that waited everyday for his guardian to come home from work, even after he died. They made a statue for Hachiko.
  • Love Hotel Hill: here you can find quirky architecture, cool old coffee shops and bars. Oh, and peep shows and soap lands (which are sexy massage parlours).
  • Tower Records: go for a free short concert almost every day of the week.
  • Sakuragaoka-Cho: a quiet street with cherry trees, restaurants and cafes. Perfect during the cherry (sakura) season!

 

4. Chiyoda: Historical, financial and political centre with the convenient Tokyo Station Area

Photo and text by Sydney Richardson of A World in Reach

Chiyoda is a relatively quiet ward located in the heart of Tokyo. In the center of the ward you can find the Imperial Palace and a ring of neighbourhoods around the palace. Tokyo Station, one of the busiest train stations in the city, is located in Chiyoda. The Tokyo Station area is well-connected to the rest of Tokyo via subway (the JR Yamanote Line and the other JR lines) and to the rest of Japan via the Shinkansen. Located between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace you can find Marunouchi, one of Japan’s most prestigious business districts by day. By night and on weekends Marunouchi is buzzing because of the many restaurants, shops and entertainment possibilities.

One of Chiyoda’s top attractions is the Imperial Palace, the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. Other top Chiyoda attractions include the Yasukuni Shrine, the National Diet Building, the National Museum of Modern Art, and Edo Castle. Akihabara, a paradise for anime fans and one of Tokyo’s most famous neighbourhoods, is also located in Chiyoda.

Especially the Tokyo Station Area in Chiyoda is perfect for you if you want to travel to other cities in Japan. But it’s also convenient if you’re planning to see a lot around Tokyo, since it’s really easy to travel around from here. Plus, it’s also within walking distance to other popular districts such as Ginza and Nihombashi. Other cool areas in Chiyoda are Otemachi, Hibiya and Jimbocho (a heaven for bookworms with its many secondhand book stores).

Best hotels in Chiyoda

  • APA Hotel Nihombashi Bakurocho Eki-Kita: basic, affordable hotel on a great location at the crossroads of Chiyoda and Chuo. Check prices and availability here.
  • Imperial Hotel Tokyo: located close to the Imperial Palace and three different subway stations, including Tokyo Station. Very luxurious hotel that offers all the comfort you need. Check prices and availability here.
  • Palace Hotel Tokyo: great location, as the hotel is directly connected with subway station Ōtemachi. This luxurious 5-star hotel has 7 restaurants, a spa and a free fitness and indoor swimming pool. Check prices and availability here.
  • The Tokyo Station Hotel: actually located inside the Tokyo Station building. Check prices and availability here.
  • Marunouchi Hotel: great location close to Tokyo Station. Check prices and availability here.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Tokyo Station: we’re always a fan of Marriott Hotels and this stylish hotel has an excellent location close to Tokyo Station. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Chiyoda

  • Imperial Palace: the primary residence of the Emperor of Japan. It’s a beautiful park that includes the main palace, the private residences of the Imperial Family, museums and administrative offices.
  • Yasukuni Shrine: this beautiful shrine commemorates those who died in various wars involving Japan.
  • National Diet Building: the center of political activity in Japan, this impressive building is made up of the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors.
  • National Museum of Modern Art: encompasses a huge collection of art by both Japanese and international artists, ranging from the Meiji Era to the modern day.
  • Akihabara: a paradise for anime fans and one of Tokyo’s most famous neighbourhoods.
  • Tokyo Ramen Street: get some of the best ramen in Tokyo at Tokyo Ramen Street.
  • Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum: exhibits 19th to early 20th-century art.
  • Nakadori Avenue: quiet street with office buildings, shops and modern art installations.
  • The Tokyo International Forum: a convention and performing arts center with restaurants and shops. Also a beautiful architectural design.
  • Tokyo Station Gallery: this gallery exhibits five exhibitions each year with different topics.

 

5. Asakusa: a district with a lot of history

10 fun things to do in Japan, Shibuya Crossing, Ueno Park, Kawasaki Warehouse, Harajuku, Ginza, Golden Gai, Akihabara Electric Town, Gotokuji Temple, Sensoji Temple, Pompompurin Cafe

Asakusa is easy to explore on foot or by Japanese rickshaw. There are a lot of cute shops and eateries. It’s located in the older part of Tokyo and not close to the JR Yamanote Line, making it a bit less convenient than the previous areas. Luckily, it’s just a few minutes to the Ginza station with the Ginza line.

It used to be Tokyo’s leading entertainment district, and during the Edo Period Asuka was home to theaters and a large red light district. Later modern types of entertainment such as movie theaters were introduced (during the 1800s and 1900s). Large parts of Asakusa were destroyed during World War II. Now, there isn’t really much left of the entertainment district.

Yet, it’s still a great area to stay. Due to the opening of the Tokyo Skytree and the popular Sensoji Temple, more tourists visit Asakusa. There is a lot of history to be found here, and some even compare this area to Kyoto.

Best hotels in Asakusa

  • Ryokan Kamogawa Asakusa: traditional Japanese guesthouse close to Sensoji Temple and Asakusa Shrine. Check prices and availability here.
  • Asakusa View Hotel: luxurious hotel with impressive views of the Tokyo Skytree and surrounding area. Check prices and availability here.
  • Wired Hotel Asakusa: perfect location near the Sensoji Temple. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Asakusa

  • Sensoji Temple and Nakamise-dori street: one of the most popular temples in Tokyo. Nakamise-dori is a street lined with Japanese souvenir shops.
  •  Tokyo Skytree: a 634 meter tall sky tree.
  • Asakusa Shrine: built during the Edo period and each year the Sanja Matsuri festival is held here mid May.
  • Asakusa Hanayashiki: Japan’s oldest amusement park – it goes back to 1853. Think retro rides!
  • Edo Shitamachi Traditional Crafts Museum: learn about traditional Japanese crafts from Edo.
  • Imado Shrine: here you can find many beckoning cat statues.

 

6. Hamamatsucho: business district

Hamamatsucho Station is convenient as the JR Yamanote Line ánd the JR Keihin Tohoku Line are available here. The Hamamatsucho district is not just a business district, as there are some of the most beautiful touristic attractions here. For instance, you can find the famous Tokyo Tower.

Shiodome, Shimbashi and Shinagawa are the adjoining districts of Hamamatsucho near Tokyo’s waterfront. Hamamatsucho and Shimbashi are popular areas for drinks and food.

Best hotels in Hamamatsucho

  • Conrad Tokyo: great location and stunning views. Check prices and availability here.
  • Hotel Mystays Hamamatsucho: located near a lot of restaurants right in the center of Hamamatsucho. Check prices and availability here.
  • Sotetsu Fresa Inn Hamamatsucho-Daimon: affordable hotel with decent rooms. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Hamatsucho

  • Tokyo Tower: a real symbol of Tokyo.
  • Kyu-Shiba-Rikyu Gardens: beautiful Japanese Garden built by a samurai in the 17th century.
  • World Trade Center Building: go to the observatory deck for amazing views over Tokyo.
  • Shiba Daijingu Shrine: one of the most important shrines in Tokyo.
  • Samurai Ship: cruise the waters of Tokyo Bay with the Samurai ship.
  • Hamarikyu Gardens: enjoy the beautiful flowers among pine trees. Go for a matcha tea at the Nakajima Tea House.

 

7. Roppongi: Popular nightlife district

One downside of Roppongi is that it’s not located near the Yamanote Line. However, Roppongi is still a popular place for foreigners to explore Tokyo’s nightlife, because of the tourist friendly bars, restaurants and clubs. That’s why there is also quite a large expat community in this area. Furthermore, the area also has several art museums, which makes it a great area to explore culture and art.

So, if you’re not planning on travelling around a lot in Tokyo, Roppongi is a great place. Even though it’s not close to the JR Yamanote Line, it has a lot to offer with many restaurants, bars, nightlife and attractions. It’s definitely still easy to travel from here, but not as easy when you’re next to a loop line.

Best hotels in Roppongi

  • The b Tokyo Roppongi: located right in the heart of Roppongi. Check prices and availability here.
  • Hotel Arca Torre Roppongi: located in the heart of Roppongi with affordable rooms. Check prices and availability here.
  • Roppongi Hotel S: close to the center of Roppongi with both western and Japanese style rooms. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Roppongi

  • Mori Art Museum: Tokyo’s largest museum of contemporary art.
  • The National Art Center: one of Asia’s largest exhibition halls.
  • Zojoji: a Buddhist Temple, its main gate is one of the oldest surviving woonden structures in Tokyo.
  • Nogi Shrine: dedicated to General Nogi Maresuke and his wife.
  • Tokyo Midtown: one of the tallest buildings in Tokyo.
  • Mohri Garden: beautiful views and great restaurants.
  • Maman: big steel and bronze statue of a spider.

 

8. Odaiba: Tokyo Bay area with its very own Statue of Liberty

Photo and text by Kenny of Knycx Journeying.

Odaiba is located within the Koto precinct, embraced by the Tokyo Bay. Conveniently connected by monorail Yurikamome to Shimbashi station, Odaiba is an exciting area that offers an abundance of amazing food, shopping, sightseeing, and entertainment.

Take a walk in the Odaiba Seaside Park and take lots of pictures of the Rainbow Bridge and Statue of Liberty on the Odaiba Beach. Sit outside bills Odaiba, enjoy a fluffy pancake and a world-famous breakfast dish with a breathtaking Tokyo Skyline. Then, take a tour in the Fuji Television. You will see the production set of the hit show Smap x Smap and learn about many other well-known TV dramas produced by Fuji in the past.

After that, take a stroll to DiverCity Tokyo Plaza on the elevated Symbol Promenade Park. There is a life-size Gundam at the entrance! Nearby, the Palette Town has a Ferris wheel, and the Venus Fort is designed based on the city of Venus. These shopping arcades also house many fashion outlets.

Teamlab’s permanent exhibition “Borderless” is the latest addition to the entertainment cluster. The exhibition explores light projections and illustration that combines art and high technology. There are long queuing lines and don’t forget to purchase tickets in advance.

Best hotels in Odaiba

  • Hilton Tokyo Odaiba: located near the popular entertainment and shopping area and the key business and commercial district. The suite balconies offer a panoramic view of Tokyo Bay. Check prices and availability here.
  •  Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba: located near central Tokyo in the beautiful Tokyo Bay area. Check prices and availability here.

Touristic attractions in Odaiba

  • Teamlab’s “Borderless” exhibition: beautiful light projections and illustrations that combines art and high technology.
  • Observatory Sphere: enjoy a panoramic view of the port of Tokyo.
  • Miraikan Museum: at the Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation you can learn about interesting technology from a scientific point of view.
  • Odaiba Beach: also known as the Entertainment Island, Odaiba Beach is the only beach in the Tokyo area. Here you can enjoy the view of the famous Rainbow Bridge, Statue of Liberty and the skyline of the city center.
  • Palette Town Ferris Wheel: climb into Japan’s highest ferris wheel for a great view.
  • Statue of Liberty: in Odaiba you can find a replica of New York’s Statue of Liberty, it’s about 1/7th the size of the real deal.

 

That were the 8 best areas to stay in Tokyo! Have you been to Tokyo and if so where did you stay? Are you planning on visiting Tokyo for the first time? Then be sure to also check out this article with fun and unique things to do in Tokyo

 

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